The cover says it all with issue #4. Magneto, Xavier, and Apocalypse are in new kinds of costumes as they suit up for a war of words with foreign dignitaries and businessmen. With Magneto leading the charge nothing can go wrong…wait Magneto is leading discussions? That can’t be good.
In what has become the Dawn of X done-in-one series, Jonathan Hickman continues to explore different things each issue to flesh things out in this brand new mutant world. So far he’s kept Cyclops at the center of each issue in some form or another and this week he lets Scott cut loose. We’re talking taking out an entire covert operations team almost by himself! I’m getting ahead of myself though since this issue is more about making an emphatic point about where mutants and their new nation stand amongst the world and the future of Earth itself.
This issue contains an impressive speech from Magneto. So impressive I highly recommend reading the issue for that alone. It is weaved in with Cyclops kicking butt, keeping you entertained and on the edge of your seat for the entirety of the issue. It’s fun to see Magneto acting the calm and levelheaded diplomat when over the years he’s usually tearing tanks apart and blasting bullets back at armies. It’s an important moment in the Dawn of X run as it shows this is a new direction for mutants as they are all on the same page which includes heroes and (previously at least) villains as one. It also sets up a conflict between humans and mutants in a way that makes both sides seem right and wrong at the same time. I’m sure many will take Magneto’s side, but even he points out change is hard.
There are many other impressive character moments Hickman and Leniel Francis Yu capture very well. Apocalypse, for instance, continues to be a foreboding and scary in his demeanor even if he’s playing nice right now. Xavier gets a chance to speak truth with an endearing quality that’s hard to deny. Even Gorgon, the fifth party in the group, gets a chance to show off his new lease on life as semi-hero plus he gets a nice data-page segment too.
Speaking of data-pages this might be the weakest element of the issue. A dinner menu, some names of folks in attendance, and a few details on Krakoan captains are all well and good but add very little. They are more like fun footnotes of a sort.
The art by Yu with inks by Yu and Gerry Alanguilan and colors by Sunny Gho are some of the strongest yet for the series. When it comes to ships Yu excels and we get to see a cool Krakoan ship. Yu sets the stage well with some beautiful mountains and a mountain town and the characters all look quite sharp in their suits. Where it really counts is the expressions of the characters, which are intense in their formality and calm. We get to see Xavier with his helmet off for once and Yu captures the heart of the man very well. Gho’s colors, especially in the deep blue eyes of Xavier, seem to exude patience and love too. This book is mostly 9-panel grid layouts which tell a measured story very well.
This is one of my favorite Dawn of X books yet! This issue captures the new world stage very well via Magneto’s impressive speech and Xavier’s honest and loving perspective. Hickman has done well to capture a very complex situation and make it fit into one very quick dinner. At the same time, the book feels huge in scope, while also small in its character work. With a sharp edge, X-Men cuts deep, expertly drawing your interest and making you thirsty for more.
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